The beginnings from 1988 until 1990
During 1988 Dr. Peter Edvi together with some friends started to help refugees
from the deceasing communist German Democratic Republic who via Budapest were
seeking for personal freedom in the West. For more than one year a merely loose
alliance of highly motivated volunteers, this group rapidly became famous for
its success. Thus, they also received information about the hair-raising conditions
in Rumanian orphanages. For the first time after the collapse of the totalitarian
Rumanian regime Dr. Edvi and his friend Dr. László Kövér were given the opportunity
during the 1989 Christmas-days to convince themselves of the saddening truth right
at the scene, to obtain first-hand evidence and to verify reports by their Transylvanian
friends. All efforts to render help on a private basis proved completely insufficient.
It was absolutely necessary to turn to the public and to organize help; hence
the International Children's Safety Service was founded in Hanover/Germany. The
members initiated a comprehensive press-coverage in March 1990; together with
moving photos of the misery of the institutionalised Rumanian children the articles
went around the world and produced a wave of international help.
In Budapest, too, volunteers became organised. In a historic hour, the constituting
session of the first free-elected Hungarian Parliament on May 2, 1990, a group
of politicians decided during a session-break to found a charity to help children
beyond all political, religious and nationality-related aims. Among the founding-members
were well-known politicians as Dr. Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary, Dr.
László Kövér, speaker of the Hungarian Parliament, Dr. Gábor Demszky, Budapest
former Chief Mayor and Dr. Gábor Fodor, former Minister of Education and later
ICSS patrons are Dr. Heinz Fischer, president of the Republic of Austria, Christian
Wulff, President of the Federal Republic of Germany, Dr. Pál Schmitt, president
of the Hungarian Republic, Dr. Árpád Göncz, former president of the Hungarian
Republic, Dr. Roman Herzog, former president of the Federal Republic of Germany,
Horst Köhler, former president of the Federal Republic of Germany and Dr. László
Sólyom, former president of the Hungarian Republic.
Goals and Organisation
Under ref. No. 6.PK.63395/1. the Budapest civil court registered the "International
Children's Safety Service" (ICSS) as a Hungarian association on July 3, 1990.
Its non-profit status
was recognised under the taxation-No. APEH 7120286376.
The statutes and articles postulate the priority of giving financial, social
and health-related support and subsistence to children in need, irrespectively
of national, political or religious affiliation.
After a modification of the statutes the organisation is directed by a nine-member
chair. The two co-presidents Dr. László Kövér and Dr. Peter Edvi have five deputies:
Mr. Attila Antalóczy, Dr. László Csáky, Dr. Sándor Csányi, Dr. Gábor Demszky,
Mr. Péter Harrach, Mr. Gábor Kuncze and as secretary Péter Fáth.
As per January 2011, the ICSS has 363 members from all parts of society. Among
them we find members of the actual Hungarian government as well as of the former
governments, e.g. the former Prime Minister Mr. Gyula Horn, and the former Minister
of the Interior Mr. Gábor Kuncze, many former ministers, leading members of all
political parties elected into the Hungarian Parliament, moreover famous Hungarian
artists as well as professors of medicine and therapeutic pedagogy.
In order to co-ordinate the international charitable work, another non-profit
organisation, the ICSS Foundation was registered by the Budapest civil court under
the ref. No. 9.PK.66561/2. on October 16, 1991, and it was granted the status
of a charity under the taxation-No. APEH 7120773904. Since then Dr. Peter Edvi
as president and the other four board members Erik Bánki, Dr. László Madarász,
Károly Szadai, Dr. József Szájer have managed this foundation.
On January 4, 1991, the independent organisation "International Children's Safety
Service in Rumania" was founded. It was admitted and registered by the civil court
of Timişoara/Rumania under the ref. No. 35/PJ/1995. Its non-profit status was
acknowledged by the district authorities under ref. No. SC096003564. Its president
Dr. Ferenc Bárányi is re-elected member of the Rumanian Parliament, former minister
of the Health and Family Committee in the last legislative period and is now Secretary
of this Parliamentarian Committee. The Rumanian ICSS closely co-operates in relief
actions with its Hungarian sister organisation.
For six years the German ICSS in Hanover had worked as a non-registered association
with legal capacity according to German laws it was founded anew in September
1996 in order to obtain its registration which was done by the Hanover civil court
under ref. No. 7155 on December 23, 1996. It was granted the non-profit status
by the Hanover-Nord revenue-office under the taxation-No. 2520640361 on March
6, 1997. The founding of other independent organisations in compliance with the
ICSS ideas, functions and missions has been envisaged for Austria, Belgium, Luxemburg,
the Netherlands, and the US.
The ICSS is financed in small parts by member fees, mostly however by honorary
activities and donations. Single projects are sponsored by companies, banks, artists
Fund raising is regularly done at benefit-events: each year pianist Zoltán Kocsis
- well known beyond Hungary - recites at the Budapest Art Center. At Christmas-time
there is a performance for the benefit of ICSS on the Hungarian State Opera stages
or in the Comic Theatre of Budapest.
In March 1995, ICSS for the first time organised the 'Ball of Balls' in the Budapest
Museum of Fine Arts.
In financial co-operation with the city of Budapest ICSS organises the annual
events with several hundred thousand participants on the occasion of the International
Children’s Day. It also organises annual Christmas celebrations for 4.000 to 5.000
children of low income families and special gift-actions for some 300 other.
Despite its nation-wide activities, among them a branch office in the town of
Pécs and Pápa, ICSS limits its number of staff to the minimum. Therefore it can
guarantee that 95 % of its receipts are employed for the persons in need whereas
only 5 % of the receipts are used for organisation and management. The annual
audits are open to everyone and they are published.
Over the years ICSS has been established as one of the most important non-government
welfare organisations in Hungary. The scope of its work is extremely versatile:
1. Healthcare Programme
ICSS covers the costs of remedies, medicines and medical aid and meets the needs
of Hungarian and foreign children for their examination and medical care as well
as for their hospital care or operations.
Starting in September 1995 the ICSS has operated its own dental ambulance-bus
in Hungary and in the neighbouring countries. This mobile dental practice is completely
equipped including an X-ray apparatus; it is self-supported and independent-pendent
from localities. The bus is employed for dental examinations and treat-treatments
of children and juveniles to secure dental basic care.
The International Children's Safety Service opened its free specialist outpatient
surgery for children in need in September 2002. At present we offer paediatrical
and child neurological specialist's consultation, special therapy for hyperactive
and for children having behaviour problems. Depending on our financial situation
we are going to start our child ophthalmological, child gynaecological, dermatological
and orthopaedic consultation.
2. Children Feeding Programme
ICSS pays for and ensures the lunch of children of socially deprived families
in schools and kindergartens. For many of them it is the only chance to get at
least one hot meal once a day.
3. Foster-Parent Programme
ICSS in a self-financed pilot program supports 10 Hungarian children from state-owned
orphanages in rural areas who are now raised by foster-parents. In co-operation
with the Rumanian ICSS it carries out a similar project for 48 Rumanian infants
in the Northern Rumanian settlement of Sinmartin/Transylvania. Based on these
experiences the Hungarian ICSS started in January 1998 another pilot project for
orphaned and abandoned children as well as runaways and street-children from the
city of Budapest (Greater Budapest).
4. Codification Programme
ICSS has published a collection of international legislation and guiding documents
dealing with child protection during the period prior to the creating of the child
welfare law. Between 1992 and 1994 together with the Prime Minister's office we
have been creating and running a Child-, Youth- and Family-Law Codification and
Deregulation Committee which in co-operation with the Ministry of Welfare has
developed a child protection law, approved by Parliament in 1997.
We have suggested and together with the Ministry of Law we have developed a modification
of the Penal Code concerning the early jailing of youth, our modification was
accepted by the Parliament. We have approached the appointed responsible by Parliament
on the matters of citizens rights, asking for commenting on whether the fact that
the national highway codes did not include the issue of compulsory child seats,
would not harm the citizens rights of children, by including experts in the investigation.
The responsible body appointed by Parliament has agreed on the suggestion and
has accepted it.
We have initialised the modification of the child welfare and media law and we
have participated in the development of the modification.
5. Holiday Programme
ICSS ensures the opportunity of organised holidays for institutionalised or otherwise
6. Educational and Post-Graduate Programme
ICSS offers training-courses for foster parents. It also furthers the post-graduate
training of foreign doctors, paediatricians, therapeutic pedagogues, laboratory
technicians, and staff-members of child-care institutions. ICSS supports the education
and intellectual development of children in state-care or of other disadvantaged
Through our application programme we help the maintaining of talents of children
in need, by providing scholarships and support for educational equipment.
Through our Riding for the Disabled programme we organise training courses for
instructors with theoretical and practical training.
7. Relief Shipments
ICSS takes relief shipments mostly to Romania and to the territory of ex-Yugoslavia,
but has also carried out relief actions in Bangladesh, Russia, and Ukraine. It
also gives long-term support to various foreign - mostly Rumanian - institutions.
8. Co-operation with and Support of Other Organisations
Employing the precise Central-Eastern European knowledge of its members, ICSS
frequently assisted other relief organisations. Hence e.g. it took part in preparing
the UNICEF and UNESCO programmes for Rumania and established the proper contacts
and conditions for many Western European relief convoys.
ICSS helped in the planning of reconstructing or reorganising hospitals and children's
homes and secured the logistic background. One of the most ambitious projects
was the reconstruction of an orphanage at Sinmartin/ Rumania in 2003: this co-operation
with Austrian, German, Rumanian and Swedish organisations runs up to costs of
DM2 Million of which half will be paid for ICSS.
ICSS organises events for Christmas-time, Children's Day, Mother's Day, etc.
to entertain children who in case of indigence are guests of ICSS. Each year several
concerts and other events at the Hungarian State Opera are organised for the children's
10. Programmes for Information and Advice
ICSS regularly gives information and advice to children, youths and children's
institutions about legal, medical and other issues concerning children. A publication-series
deals with legal questions, self-organisation and planning of life, drugs, smoking,
and sexual education; it was started in 1995 and will be continued with publications
on other child-related topics. ICSS organized from 1998 six international conferences
on the “Effects of the Media on the Children and Young people”.
11. Film, Television and Photo Documentation
The everyday life of socially disadvantaged children as well as the problems,
which arise in child welfare on the part of hospitals, schools and other institutions
for children are documented in a tv-serie every year.
Late in 1996 the ICSS-owned 'Centre for Infant Development' in Budapest was taken
over by public authorities and Hungarian health insurance companies. This centre
had been designed and founded as well as financed and operated for more than five
years by ICSS. Its physicians, psychologists, therapeutic pedagogues and teachers
treated physically and/or mentally handicapped children. The big success of this
centre did not only justify the conception and its realisation; its integration
in the public health-care proves that ICSS’ ideas and the transition into pilot-projects
can trigger off public initiatives.
If you want to support the work of ICSS, please do it as a visitor to one of
our events, or as a member (minimum annual fee for private members HUF 1.200).
Please contact the following address:
International Children's Safety Service (Nemzetközi Gyermekmentő Szolgálat)
- Hungarian registered non-profit association -
H-1066 Budapest, Teréz körút 24 I./1.
Phone: + 36 1 475 7000
Fax: + 36 1 302 4136
Banking account No: IBAN HU87 1179 4008 2222 2222
BIC Code: OTPVHUHB